Choosing a resort to stay in during your next Walt Disney World vacation can be an overwhelming decision to make. With so many different resorts and categories to choose from, it’s all about finding the option that fits your personal budget and needs.
If you can’t decide between a value, moderate, or deluxe resort for your next trip, we’re here to help you get one step closer to picking your next vacation resort.
Today we’re going to look at all of the Walt Disney World resorts, ranking them based on their resort category. Whether you are looking for a value, moderate, or deluxe resort for your next stay, we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive resort guide today.
How To Choose Your Disney Resort
How Much Time Are You Going to Spend in the Room?
When it comes to deciding between the Walt Disney World resort categories, one of the first considerations should be how much time you are going to spend in the resort. While some visitors will always stay in the same resort category, if you are going to be in the parks all day, you may feel a deluxe resort is not worth the expense.
The deluxe resorts offer extensive facilities and beautiful swimming pools for relaxing. If you’re not going to spend any time in your room or resort, you might want to consider saving money by opting for a value or moderate resort. These resorts still offer great Disney-themed rooms and amenities, without the price tag of the deluxe resorts.
As you go up the Disney resort categories, you’ll find the dining choices improve significantly. If dining is a huge part of your vacation, you may want to consider staying at some of the most popular deluxe resorts.
For dining, we love Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, Polynesian Village Resort, or the Animal Kingdom Lodge, all of which offer unique dining options. After a busy day at the parks, coming back and enjoying a relaxed table-service meal in your resort is the perfect way to end the day.
However, if your family is happy dining at a quick-service location every day, you may be content with a value resort.
For families traveling with younger children, immersing them in the Disney theming is often the top priority. For a complete Disney experience, we recommend the value resorts, especially the Art of Animation Resort.
Young children will love seeing their favorite characters from Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Cars and staying in a room themed after one of these movies. Alternatively, Port Orleans Riverside offers the Royal Guest Rooms, themed after The Princess and the Frog.
Each resort offers its own unique amenities, so you’ll want to decide what’s most important to you for your family’s vacation. If your kids love to swim every day, we recommend staying at the Yacht or Beach Club Resorts, which share Stormalong Bay.
This three-acre pool complex is without a doubt the best on property and is almost like a mini water park in your resort. For a unique vacation, opt to stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, where you can wake up every morning and watch the giraffes and animals who call this resort home from your balcony.
For a truly luxurious stay, the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa appeals to guests of all ages and is considered the property’s flagship resort.
Your party size will have a big impact on the resort you opt for, and if you are traveling with more than four people, you’ll want to consider looking at resorts that offer family suites or larger accommodation.
The Art of Animation Resort and All-Star Music Resort both offer family suites, which sleep up to six people but are still generally quite affordable for larger groups.
Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is a fun option for larger families, where you can stay in a rustic cabin in the woods. Finally, consider the Deluxe Villas for a larger party, where you can choose from one, two, and three-bedroom villas.
These are available in all of the Disney Vacation Club resorts, but you don’t have to be a DVC member to stay in these rooms.
Of course, your budget will probably be the final consideration for your Walt Disney World stay. You’ll want to take the time to consider the packages and deals available to your family when it’s time to book your vacation.
Wherever you choose to stay, all of the Walt Disney World resorts offer fantastic levels of service and a wonderful experience to completely immerse you in the magic of this vacation destination.
What Are The 3 Levels Of Disney World Resort Hotels?
Disney resorts fall in three levels or categories: value resorts, moderate resorts, and deluxe resorts. Deluxe resorts also have villas and club-level options to consider.
Disney Value Resorts $
The Disney Value resort category is a good option for families who are traveling on a budget. While staying at Disney is certainly not a cheap option, these resorts do make it more affordable for large families and groups.
All of these resorts have bold themes and rooms, so they are ideal for families with younger children. Expect large swimming pools and quick-service dining locations but fewer recreation and sit-down dining opportunities.
Disney’s Art of Animation
Taking the number one position for the value category is the Art of Animation. This is one of our favorite resorts on-site for families with young children and offers a variety of different room options.
Art of Animation has standard rooms in The Little Mermaid section. There are also family suites themed around The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars. The family suites have a master bedroom and two bathrooms within the unit.
The suites can sleep up to six people, they are a good value in comparison to purchasing two separate rooms. However, keep in mind these certainly make a stay here more costly than you might expect.
As far as the theming of the resort, you’ll find Disney touches everywhere you look. There are multiple themed pools to choose from, all of which are very large to accommodate the number of people staying here.
The modern food court and shopping area are great for grabbing a quick meal. Finally, one of the best reasons to book a stay here is due to the addition of the Skyliner transportation system. This means getting to Hollywood Studios or Epcot is even quicker and easier than before, and it’s a great perk for a value resort to have.
This resort is also one of the Pet Friendly Disney Hotels if you are looking to bring your dog with you on your next vacation.
Disney’s Pop Century Resort
This is our favorite value resort for adults or couples who are looking to enjoy Disney on a budget. You’ll find that the rooms here have been recently renovated.
You’ll enjoy a large food court and multiple swimming pools. Kids will still enjoy the Disney touches that can be found throughout the resort and the larger-than-life decorations it is so well known for.
Disney’s All Star Resort
There are three All-Star Resort Hotels, All-Star Music, All-Star Movies, and All-Star Sports. Out of the three All-Star resorts, Music has to be our favorite.
It’s a good choice for adults and families and offers some of the cheapest hotel rates in Walt Disney World. This part of the resort attracts fewer large groups than the other All-Star resorts, making it a little quieter in the pools and dining area.
The other two value resorts that you might consider staying in are All-Star Sports and All-Star Movies. They offer similar accommodations and facilities to that of All-Star Music, with different theming based on the one you choose.
You’ll find that All-Star Movies has large swimming pools, a great food court, and standard rooms which offer all of the amenities you’d need for a visit to the parks. Many people find they spend no time at all in their resort, and if that’s what you imagine will happen on your next trip, this would be a good choice for you.
You’ll find these have some great deals in comparison to the other Disney resorts and can be easy to find availability for when you book a last-minute trip. For anyone who is planning to spend no time at all in their room, it’s a great way to save money on your next Walt Disney World adventure.
All three All Star Resort Hotels have just been renovated. These rooms are typically the cheapest, but also my least favorite to stay in. Prepare for long lines for buses most of the day.
Disney Moderate Resorts $$
If you fancy upgrading your stay at Walt Disney World a little bit, consider the moderate category. These resorts are great for adults on a budget who are looking for a quieter resort with a few more amenities.
All moderate resorts have slides at the pool. You wlll also find sit down dining options at all of the moderate resorts. You will still find families at the moderate resorts, but they tend to be quieter than the value resorts.
This is how we would rank the Disney Moderate resorts when booking a stay.
Read More: Best Moderate Resorts at Disney World Ranked
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort
Port Orleans consists of two resorts, Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside and Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter. It’s one of our favorite resorts for couples and adults in the whole of Walt Disney World.
French Quarter is attached to Port Orleans Riverside, but it’s the smaller and more intimate part of the resort. You’ll find one swimming pool here and a quick-service dining location.
When staying here, don’t miss out on the delicious beignets that the resort is so well known for. If you enjoy walking, you’ll love strolling around this resort and admiring the beautiful view over the river.
One of the best perks of staying here is the boat to Disney Springs, which gives you a unique transportation option for your next vacation. Port Orleans Riverside is also Pet Friendly and a great place to bring your dog. We brought our dog Walt with us when we stayed here.
We would happily stay in any of the moderate resorts at Walt Disney World. Port Orleans Riverside is connected to Port Orleans French Quarter but is a little larger than the other resort. It’s a good option for families due to the numerous pools and various recreation options on offer.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Caribbean Beach is one of the longest-running resorts on the property. It now has the benefit of the Disney Skyliner transportation, as the hub for this transport option is based at this resort.
We recently stayed at Carribean Beach Resort and enjoyed our visit. The room was average and wasn’t our favorite, but we were close to Riviera which let us snag a last minute Toppolinos reservation.
We also enjoyed the Coke Freestyle Machines being in the buildings so we didn’t have to walk up front to refill the refillable mugs. This was so convenient and I would stay here again just for that perk.
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and Gran Destino Tower
It’s a tough choice for third place in the moderate category, but we’ve awarded it to Coronado Springs. The recent addition of the Gran Destino Tower has really upgraded this resort, and its rooms and facilities are comparable to those in the deluxe category.
The resort itself is a lakeside American Southwest-themed resort, with plenty of great restaurants and swimming pools for families to enjoy. Rooms here contain all of the standard amenities of a moderate resort.
It’s known for having added extra facilities at the resort due to it also being a conference center. For those looking to upgrade their stay, definitely consider the Gran Destino Tower, which also offers club-level rooms.
Fort Wilderness Cabins
When looking at the moderate resort category, you might overlook Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. However, the cabins here are the top option in this category for larger families.
You’ll find that the cabins sleep up to six adults, with one queen bed and a set of bunk beds in separate rooms. The resort itself is perfect for anyone who is looking to plan a unique Disney trip.
You’ll find that you are immersed in nature, with your cabin located in the middle of the woods. We find this accommodation option to be great for anyone looking to save money on a Disney trip without resorting to camping, as you can cook meals in the kitchen in your cabin.
On top of that, there’s no end to the facilities and things to do in this resort, making it somewhere you could visit for vacation without even stepping foot in the parks.
Disney Deluxe Resorts $$$
For visitors to Walt Disney World who are looking to enjoy a special vacation for their whole family, you’ll want to consider the Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resorts. These resorts have all of the amenities you could possibly imagine.
All Deluxe resorts are close to the Disney theme parks. They also all have slides and sit down restaurants. The sit down dining options at the Deluxe resorts tend to be more popular than the restaurants at the moderate resorts.
Deluxe Resorts have Extra Magic Hours you can take advantage of. They also have close proximity to the parks which is another perk. Let’s look at each resort by location.
Deluxe Resorts Near Magic Kingdom Park
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
If you are looking for the most luxurious accommodation in Walt Disney World, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is our top pick. This resort is located within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom but also benefits from the boat and monorail.
The resort can feel a little stuffy for younger children, but they do have some beautiful swimming pools they’ll enjoy. If fine dining is something you are after, you’ll love eating at Narcoossee’s and enjoy the views over to the fireworks after a busy day at the parks.
The spa is also a lovely addition to a stay here and allows you to relax after traipsing around the parks.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort was one of the opening-day resorts. It offers a wide range of accommodation options, including stunning water bungalows with views over to the Magic Kingdom.
This resort really does have something for everyone in your party, from young children up to older couples. The dining here is incredible, with ‘Ohana and Kona Café being family favorite restaurants.
Kids will love the feature pool here, whereas adults will enjoy the outdoor bar on offer nearby. The best thing about this resort is its proximity to the Magic Kingdom, thanks to the direct monorail or boat service to the parks.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Finally, Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower are great options for anyone planning to spend the majority of their trip in the Magic Kingdom. You can walk directly to the park, or hop on the monorail if you prefer.
California Grill is one of the best restaurants in Walt Disney World, and it’s the perfect place to watch Magic Kingdom fireworks at the end of the night. There is also a viewing deck at the Contemporary Resort as well.
Read More: Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
During the winter months, Wilderness Lodge is our favorite resort for a cozy stay in Orlando. You’ll have a great range of accommodation options here, thanks to the addition of the Boulder Ridge Villas and the Copper Creek Villas & Cabins.
The theming here is of America’s National Parks, and you’ll love the swimming pool and dining options on offer. Families with kids of all ages will enjoy staying here, and when it’s time to head to the parks, you can hop on a boat to the Magic Kingdom for a scenic journey to start off your day.
Deluxe Resorts Near EPCOT and Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort & Disney’s Beach Club Resort
The Yacht Club is my personal favorite Disney Resort and has the best pool on Disney property. For adults who love spending their park time in Epcot, you can’t go wrong with the Yacht Club or Beach Club, which allow you to walk directly into the park’s second entrance or Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
While both resorts have slightly different theming and restaurants to choose from, they both share the largest swimming pool in Walt Disney World. Stormalong Bay is an incredible pool with water slides and plenty of space for families.
You’ll struggle to tear the kids away from this pool, as they’ll enjoy it just as much as the parks. We love the wide variety of restaurants on offer here, so you can choose somewhere new to dine each day of your trip.
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
Located very close to the Yacht & Beach Club resorts, you’ll enjoy walking to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios from the BoardWalk. This resort is themed like a seaside boardwalk and has some of the most extensive dining options around.
You can choose from standard rooms and larger villas, and guests will appreciate the family-friendly swimming pool and recreation options.
Disney’s Riviera Resort
This is the newest resort in Walt Disney World and offers modern accommodation options. We particularly like the addition of the studios, which are perfect for couples who don’t require so much space.
You’ll be able to hop on the Skyliner to Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Epcot, and you can also walk to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort for more dining options. Make sure you don’t miss the character breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace, which also offers stunning views over the resort.
Deluxe Resorts Near Disney Springs
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is located close to Disney Springs, and you can walk directly to this area from your room. For the ultimate vacation, consider booking a three-bedroom treehouse villa here.
They do book up fast, but you’ll find they are one of the most unique vacation accommodation options at Walt Disney World.
Deluxe Resorts Near Animal Kingdom
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is usually the most affordable resort in this category, but you’ll find the DVC options are good for larger parties as well. The resort is split between two buildings, which include the Jambo House or Kidani Village with its villas.
The theming here is like nowhere else on the property, and you can wake up each morning to views of animals from your balcony. Choose from a standard hotel room or villas with up to three bedrooms for a stay to fit your family’s needs.
The dining here is excellent too, with Sanaa at Kidani Village and Boma at Jambo House being our top two picks.
Read More: What You Need To Know About Animal Kingdom Lodge
Old Key West Resort
Old Key West Resort is where the Disney Vacation Club first started, and it’s still a very popular resort with people who visit regularly. Accommodation here comes in all shapes and sizes, and you’ll enjoy being able to cook in your own kitchen in some of the larger rooms. It’s a very laid-back and charming resort and great for extended family trips.
What is Disney club level?
Club level adds $150-200 per night to your stay as an additional cost to the resort. Club level gives you added perks like snacks and breakfast during your stay.
If you take full advantage of the food and beverage options during the day it can be worth it to stay club level.
There are so many resorts to choose from when it comes to looking at the Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa categories. If none of the resorts we listed above are available or fit your needs, these are the others you can check out. You really can’t go wrong with any of these deluxe resorts, and they all offer incredible facilities for families and visitors of all ages.
Is It Cheaper To Stay Off Property At Disney World?
A great way to use points to stay at Walt Disney World is to stay at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort. The Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin is technically not considered Disney property though it shares most of the on property perks.
The Swan & Dolphin along with the new Swan Reserve are all considered Deluxe Disney Hotels even though they are Marriott owned and operated. Enjoy Early Entry, Extra Magic Hours, and Dining Reservations at the Swan & Dolphin.
You can walk to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios or take the friendship boats. This is the best option for an off property resort. The only difference are the buses, magic band room entry, and charging to the room from your magic band aren’t able to be used at this resort.
Choosing a Walt Disney World resort is a very personal decision. It comes down to considering your family’s budget and needs for your next vacation.
You’ll find that there are excellent resort options in every category, and wherever you stay, you’ll have a vacation to remember. If you can afford to upgrade to the deluxe resorts, we highly recommend doing this for your next trip.
The accommodation in all of these resorts is excellent and provides you with everything you could imagine and more. Of course, if you are looking to spend every minute of your day in the theme parks, it might not be worth spending extra on your room.
Think about the additional dining reservations or unique experiences you could add on instead and find a resort that fits your family’s needs for the time you are visiting.
When it comes to planning a Walt Disney World vacation, we encourage you to book your resort as soon as possible. The resorts on property all get booked up very quickly, so if you have one in mind for your next trip, think about making your reservation as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you stay at a Disney resort without going to the parks?
Yes you can stay at a Disney resort and not visit the theme parks. There are plenty of things to do without park tickets around Disney and the surrounding area.
What perks are there for staying Disney property?
There are many perks to staying on property at Disney World. These include Early Entry (Rope Drop), Extra Magic Hours for Deluxe resorts, making dining reservations for your whole trip 60 days out, Disney transportation, and Disney Dining plans.
Can you use Disney transportation if staying off property?
Yes you can use Disney transportation if you stay off property. You can use the Skyliner, Monorail, Boats, and Buses to resorts without staying on property.
How do I make my first Disney trip special?
Make sure to get a first time Disney button on your first trip! You can also consider capture the moment and memory maker for special keepsake photos of your first trip.
Does it matter where you stay at Disney?
There is no bad choice when you stay on Disney property. There are also a number of great choices off property as well.
Is Disney early entry worth it?
Yes! Early Entry is the best perk for staying on property at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels. Take advantage of the low crowds and short lines during Early Entry and avoid paying extra for Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes.
What Disney resort is closest to Magic Kingdom?
Disney’s Contemporary Resort is the closest resort a short monorail ride or 10 minute walk to Magic Kingdom.
What hotel has the easiest access to Magic Kingdom?
Disney’s Contemporary, Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa are both on the monorail as well making them close to Magic Kingdom. Disney’s Fort Wilderness and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge both have a boat you can take to Magic Kingdom putting them in close proximity to Magic Kingdom.
What is the best Disney world resort?
This depends on personal preference, budget, and needs for you. My personal favorite is Disney’s Yacht Club.
Is it better to stay in Disney hotel or in Orlando?
There are many perks with staying on Disney property which make Disney hotels the better option. If Disney hotels are out of your budget than there are some great off property options.
What is the best length of stay at Disney World?
The best length for a Disney trip is 7 days. This allows you to visit all four parks, the water parks, and have rest days to enjoy your resort and Disney Springs.
Which Disney resort is best for first timers?
There isn’t a bad option for a first time visit though our favorites to check out are Art of Animation, Port Orleans French Quarter, or Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club.
What are the best Disney World resort pools?
The best pools are at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club, Disney’s Riviera, and the largest pool at Disney’s Art of Animation.
What are the best Disney World resorts for large families?
Disney’s Art of Animation, Disney’s All Star Music Resort, Disney’s Fort Wilderness, and the Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts.
What are the best Disney World resorts for easy access to the theme parks?
The Deluxe resorts have the easiest access to the theme parks. Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn, and the Swan & Dolphin are closest to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. Animal Kingdom Lodge is closest to Animal Kingdom. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort are closest to Magic Kingdom.
What are the best Disney World resorts for using hotel points?
Walt Disney World Swan, Walt Disney World Dolphin, and Walt Disney World Swan Reserve are the best resorts for using Marriott points. You can use points and status at this resort while also enjoying many on property perks and close proximity to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.
What are the best Disney World resorts for a luxury vacation?
Any of the Disney Deluxe hotels would be the perfect choice for a luxury vacation. The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is the most luxurious Walt Disney World Hotel.